That was an ugly win. The Eagles did just about everything in their power to give away a week 1 game against a very inferior opponent, but pulled out a last minute TD drive to start out on the positive side of the ledger. Here’s what I saw, moving from bad to good:
Vick: Four interceptions, three of which were of the “cover your eyes bad” variety. He looked rusty, and my hope is that this was a week of him shaking off the lack of pre-season preparation and not a sign of a continuation of his turnover prone ways. Perhaps more troubling is his decision making tendency of always looking for a big play. Many times against the Browns there was at least one check-down receiver wide open who he ignored. He’s got to start taking the easy yardage that defences are giving him.
Penalties: Twelve accepted penalties costing 110 yards. Completely undisciplined play cost the Eagles not only the penalty yardage, but significant positive plays that were nullified. This is an unfortunate hallmark of this team early every season.
Left side of the offensive line: Pass protection issues had Vick scrambling and missed blocks in the running game stopped well designed plays short. The Eagles counted on the left side of their line last year. This wasn’t a great start for Dunlap or Mathis.
Run/pass ratio: A sore point for all Eagles fans, it was way out of whack again in this game (65 called pass plays, 23 runs). The coaching staff did use McCoy to change the pace of the game a few times and rode a hot hand there for a bit. The Eagles need a more balanced attack to be successful over the long haul.
Defence: Hard to tell if they turned in a great game or just feasted on a team with a rookie QB and no real offensive talent. Regardless, they looked focused and fast. Coleman and Rogers-Cromartie were strong with two interceptions each. The D-line played well against the run all game. I liked what I saw from Ryans, particularly against the run. The hustle by Asomugha to stop a sure TD was a key to victory enabling a drive-killing interception a few plays later.
Punting: One of the real weaknesses last year, Henry had a great game averaging 55 yds/punt. The only down side was that he was out-kicking the coverage unit which allowed Cribbs to have a number of strong returns.
The comeback: Last year, the team made a habit of giving up the lead in the 4th. Even with all of the negatives of this game, the silver lining was a long drive to win the game.
You’re always happy coming out of week 1 at 1-0. Next week the competition gets tougher against Baltimore.
Enough on the Eagles. Elsewhere in my RedZone/Sunday Ticket watching, here are a few things that caught my eye:
- The Broncos offensive line looked outstanding against the Steelers. That bodes well for Manning and the passing game.
- I think Heath Miller is the most underrated TE in the league, he was great for the Steelers.
- The Saints and Packers defences looked bad on Sunday (really, really bad). Their respective offences can outscore a lot of mistakes, but the D appears to be an Achilles heel for both teams.
- Flacco looked unstoppable at times. This is the year the Ravens offence overshadows its defence.
- After the Raiders lost their long snapper, why didn’t they just for for it on 4th down? Trotting out a guy who hadn’t done that since high school was a huge coaching mistake.
- Continuing on a 4th down rant, why does Bengals coach Lewis call for a FG on 4th and goal from a yard and a half away rather than go for the TD? At that point in the game, his team is down 7 points and has shown it can’t stop the Ravens offence. Bad decision and from that point on his team was outscored 27-0.